From Fury to Eriksen: Sporting resurrections that shook the world

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From Fury to Eriksen: Sporting resurrections that shook the world
Tyson Fury lifts his arms after defeating Deontay Wilder in 2021
Tyson Fury lifts his arms after defeating Deontay Wilder in 2021
AFP
Hyperbole around sporting miracles feels commonplace in our modern parlance. From the ‘Miracle on Ice’ to the ‘Miracle at Medinah’, this word is frequently used to describe improbable success and victory when adversity seems to be the biggest opponent.

Sporting resurrections, though, feel all the more impossible. Few individuals have arrested momentum, sometimes when all the cards are stacked against them, and come out of it stronger, making their way back to the pinnacle of their sport.

With it being Easter weekend, Flashscore looks at some of those individuals, who have against all likelihood rose again and performed their own miracle.

Tyson Fury

“I just don't want to live anymore, if you know what I'm saying.” 

In 2016, having been crowned the still mythical heavyweight champion of the world after beating the then dominant Wladimir Klitchsko on points, Tyson Fury’s life unravelled.

The ‘Gypsy King’ was declared medically unfit for the rematch having tested positive for cocaine and then relinquished his belts - soon after he was fighting for himself. In an interview with Rolling Stone, he declared that he didn’t want to live anymore.

He explained: “"They say I've got a version of bipolar… I'm a manic depressive. I just hope someone kills me before I kill myself."

Not only had he lost all of his belts, he was stripped of his boxing licence - he was back to square one.

What he did next was not only inspiring but showed a level of strength that many aspire to have. 

He shredded weight in training after he had - in his own words - drank every day, snorted cocaine and ate to be as ‘fat as a pig’, before making a comeback, which took longer than expected.

This was down to his licence, but that was reinstated after a year of legal battles with UK Anti-Doping and the British board of boxing. This saw him fight twice against relative unknowns outside of the world of boxing, but he won both with his calculated and sometimes unorthodox style.

Next up, Deontay Wilder. A heavyweight champion, who had said before that Fury was ‘done’. The pair met on December 1st 2018 in a hugely-anticipated clash that saw them sell out the Staples Centre in Los Angeles, they put on a bout for the ages. After 12 rounds of pulsating action, Wilder put Fury on the canvas with one of his trademark haymakers and that seemed to be that. But, Fury had other ideas, miraculously lifting himself off the floor to stun everyone.

He ultimately drew the battle on points controversially, however the pair were not done. A rematch was made in 2020 and this time Fury came out on top, with Wilder’s team throwing in the towel midway through the seventh of 12 rounds. Fury was a champion once more.

The pair closed out their trilogy in October 2021, Fury knocking out Wilder in the 11th round to firmly secure himself as one of the best boxers in the world, even if there were wobbles during the bout for Fury.

Since then, Fury has yet to face an opponent with the calibre or pedigree of Wilder and a proposed fight against Oleksandr Usyk - the current WBA, WBO and IBF Heavyweight Champion of the World - to unify the belts has been hit with delay after delay. They are now set to meet later in 2024, but the controversial Fury’s recovery from ultimate despair to delight is something right out of Hollywood.

Christian Eriksen

The tragic moments that followed Christian Eriksen’s collapse due to cardiac arrest in 2021 was something those watching in the stadium and around the world will never forget.

During a European Championship match between Denmark and Finland in Copenhagen, the diminutive creative midfielder suddenly fell to the floor unconscious and immediately it was obvious that the worst was feared.

His teammates, including captain Simon Kjaer - attributed with helping to save Eriksen’s life with his quick-thinking - huddled around their stricken friend whilst a silent crowd watched on. Paramedics and medical staff were quickly on the scene to aid him, but his condition at the time seemed to be grave.

The game continued some time later, but none of the players or spectators were worried about the result, something far bigger than sport had taken hold of those in attendance. Thankfully, Eriksen made a full recovery and with the help of a pacemaker fitted to his heart would live on.

He would also thrive - signing for Brentford and continuing his career playing in the Premier League. He would then move to Manchester United, where he remains, but perhaps the biggest moment was returning to the international stage in 2022 when he played for Denmark in the World Cup.

That campaign for the Danes would ultimately fall flat, departing the competition after the group stage. But, the sight of Eriksen on the pitch for those three games soared many a spirit around the world.

Tiger Woods

For much of the 20th century, golf and Tiger Woods went hand-in-hand. The American, from 1999 until 2009, was almost unbeatable in the majors, winning a colossal 13. This near 25% success rate in a sport of momentum and unpredictability is almost unfathomable. 

Money, fame and accolades fell into the lap of Woods throughout the 2000s, creating an invincible air around one of the most recognisable sports stars on the planet - it seemed like he could do no wrong.

But that illusion seemed to evaporate in 2009. A car crash in Florida spilled into an infidelity scandal that rocked the sport. Numerous women came forward in the weeks after to say that they had entered into affairs with Woods before he apologised to the world for his misdemeanours.

Woods then entered therapy and took an ‘indefinite break from the sport’ to focus on his private life. He would return six months later at the 2010 Masters but injuries plagued him throughout the decade, seeing the titan lose his grip on a sport he had once dominated.

With his best years behind him, many had written him off to the history books. That all changed in 2019, however. On the perfectly manicured greens of Augusta National, Woods rolled back the years to produce four rounds of magical golf, donning the green jacket given to the winner of the Masters for a fifth time. His performance included another iconic moment on the 16th, 14 years after he produced arguably the greatest shot in golf to win the same major in 2005.

An emotional Woods fought back tears as the light faded in Georgia in 2019, a sure sign of the significance that moment had on him. 

He explained: "It's overwhelming, because of what has transpired. Last year I was lucky to be playing again. At the previous champions dinner I was really struggling. To now be the champion. Unreal for me to experience this. I couldn't be more happy and excited. I'm at a loss for words.”

More injuries have threatened to retire the GOAT of golf since. He battles on valiantly, but for fans around the world, his road to the Masters title five years ago will live long in the memory.

Monica Seles

Sport is driven by emotion, both from players and fans. From the very highest highs to the lowest of lows, sport can create emotion like few other things in the world.

Few, though, have felt this array of emotions quite like Monica Seles. The Yugoslav and now American tennis player turned professional in 1989 and soon after was the dominant force in women’s tennis.

Just a year after turning pro, she would win the 1990 French Open before winning six of the eight majors in 1991 and 1992. The only one she failed to win was Wimbledon, although she did make the final in 1992, losing to Steffi Graf in the final.

And it would be this rivalry that would spark near tragedy a year later. Whilst playing in Hamburg, Seles was stabbed by a Graf-obsessed fan during her Citizen Cup quarter-final against Magdalena Maleeva, leaving her with a 1.3cm wound between her shoulder blades.

This would see her leave the sport for more than two years. In the intervening years, Seles became an American citizen and would win another grand slam - the 1996 Australian Open - to complete her remarkable comeback. Four years later, she won bronze at the Sydney Olympics.

Her appearances on tour would become sporadic from 2003 and she would eventually retire in 2008. Four years later, she was inducted into the international tennis hall of fame and is still considered one of the greatest female tennis players of all time.

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